The Helena jail's most infamous inmate -- Theodore Kaczynski -- also is noted as one of the politest.  

It was odd for Laurel Bulson to be face to face with the Unabomber. Bulson was one of the detention officers tasked with documenting Kaczynski's actions every 10 minutes.  

"He's right there. You were the one who had any interaction with him," Bulson recalled. "It's a different relationship than the public will ever have."

Kaczynski wasn't overly friendly but he was pleasant. He took orders well. Most of his time was spent alone in the protective-custody cell writing and reading.  

"He's probably the best behaved inmate we've had," she said. 

"He never argued. He was very cordial that way," Bulson said. "He was just very compliant."

His presence at the county jail not only captured the attention of international media, which camped outside, but also other inmates. Kaczynski's movements were not only documented but carefully plotted. 

An officer was posted outside the door of his cell 24 hours a day. The protective-custody cell Kaczynski called home for a stint is on the booking floor of the jail. Many of the incoming inmates would inquire about his whereabouts, not realizing he was housed just behind them, Bulson said. 

"Everybody wanted to see him," she said. 

The cell, which consists of a mat on the floor and a toilet-sink combination, is oddly similar in size to the 10-by-12-foot cabin Kaczynski called home for two decades. It also boasted something he didn't have at home -- running water. 

The covertness of everything to do with the Unabomber began the day federal agents took him into custody at his cabin on Stemple Pass Road outside of Lincoln. The county jail had no idea the notorious killer was heading down the mountain on April 3, 1996. 

"All of a sudden, they're bringing Ted Kaczynski up," Bulson said. "It was so secretive for obvious reasons." 

"Everything that happened with him was different."

Kaczynski was not allowed around other inmates. His isolation included recreation time. During his time in the enclosed rec yard, he would run. 

"I think he had it down to how many laps equaled a mile," Bulson recalled. 

When officers interacted with him, Kaczynski would be amiable but not outgoing. There was small talk but it was mostly procedural. 

"He didn't volunteer any information," she said. 

Bulson, now a sergeant, had only worked at the Lewis and Clark County Detention Center for a few weeks when Kaczynski arrived. For her, the whole scenario was surreal. 

One thing that sticks out in Bulson's mind is Kaczynski's adoration for Fig Newtons. 

His attorney, one of the his only visitors during his weeks at the Helena jail, would put money on his books for canteen items. 

"It was always Fig Newtons," she said. 

After his time in the Helena facility expired, Kaczynski wrote a letter to the detention officers thanking them for their hospitality. 


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